Evolution is more than a genome. Evolution is expression. Telling one young woman's struggle for social integration, House of Tables is the first novel by Ileen McDuring. Set in Dallas-Fort Worth two years after the Great Recession, it tells of orphan Cadie Walsh, robotics engineer and guitar virtuoso, after she survives St. Fina's, a girls' orphanage renowned for abuse and sex-trafficking. Socially stunted by her experiences and continually shadowed by the voice of deceased Sister Mary Trea, Cadie wants nothing more than to find a family.
In a brave move to find one, Cadie participates in National Geographic's Genographic Project. With results in hand, she embarks on a local journey to connect with four groups, representative of cultures along her ancient ancestors' unique route out of Africa. As Cadie connects with her new acquaintances, a chance discovery allows her to engineer Fala, a robot able to recognize expression and interact emotionally. Inspired by Fala's abilities and determined to challenge her own damaged social traits, Cadie devises an experiment to test and overcome her limitations and, thus, catalyzes the ultimate recipe for failure or success in her acquisition of family, self-expression, and love.